Where does anxiety come from? Does it come from stressful events and anticipation of stressful events? Are these stresses actual or in the mind? Are they about your own expectations and embarrassments being exposed? Are they tied to lies? Or are all of these examples describing the meta-problem: separation between objects causes fear? In this case, separation between psychological objects: thoughts, feelings, and self.
The events and possibilities you are anxious about are like leaves floating on a stream. The stream is anxiety. And the stream is you. Sometimes the leaves are heavy, like palm leaves, dropping into your stream unexpectedly. They submerge and inform the stream; they add to it, become it. But not all leaves are the same and so we must not treat a palm like a pine needle.
Some say to watch the leaves on your stream without judging them. The leaves are not you, they say, and so how you feel about them is also not you. Just observe. But who is observing?
You are the stream. The stream isn’t your stream, the stream is you. Now that the leaves are in you and on you, they are you, too. The objects of anxiety are you. The feeling of anxiety is you. The stream is its content; anxiety is you.
You anticipate the next leaf to drop based on the leaves that are in you. This anticipating what’s to come and greeting what’s there now, guardedly, with images from past experience, is like a bastardization of oneness: every situation that arises is presumed the same as the last and so it is doomed to be that for you.
The events that we say make us anxious are points of focus within us that we concentrate on to maintain the sense of space between anxiety and us. As a society, we cherish our ability to examine. We examine the external world and we apply that same focus to our personal interior. In so doing, we create separations all around, inside and outside. And we think that by doing this, by objectifying, we can solve our problems. But objectifying is the problem.
The stream is you, whether you see who you are or not. Whether you concentrate on irritants as if they are happening to you or not.
What if you saw this? Really saw it? What would happen to the stream if it recognized it was its content? There is no separating the content from the flow; would not the gap between anxieties close? And in the same way, the very same way, that one closes the case on anxieties as events, would the case not be closed on you as anxiety?
Since the writer is claiming that every reader is this issue, where do all these readers go when they understand it and are no longer anxiety?
How does a stream flow when its content is no more?
Perfectly. And with a hush.